I returned from Rome two weeks ago, after eight weeks of working in our lovely travel business, hosting gloriously fun groups of tourists from Ravello to Naples, Cortona to Rome. We followed it with two weeks’ holiday in my favorite city on earth, the Eternal City…Rome.
Before I go further, let me say that I love Italy, its glory, beauty, culture, food and of course, its challenges. I have spent enough time here to see its reality, not a vision through the rose-colored glasses of a tourist. I do business there. I know a little bit about how things work (although I am sometimes still surprised, but that’s part of the fun).
How are things in Italy? I was asked this question countless times by friends and on social media. Honestly, I didn’t know what we would find when we got there. I was thrilled to see that, in typical Italian fashion, these resilient people are getting back to life; hugging; kissing; welcoming tourists (gratefully) back to their beautiful country; cooking and serving the most delicious food. And they are taking care of each other; doing what needs to be done (wearing masks where needed, etc.) to put the pandemic in their rearview mirror (as much as possible…).
I confess that I had not felt as safe since the start of the pandemic as I did in Italy. I breathed a deep sigh of relief at how relaxed I was able to feel there.
Coming home was bittersweet as I love Italy and being there feels natural and normal to me. The pace of life is a bit more…languid than here. People seem less rushed, more inclined to take in the beauty of the day. Here, I feel pressured to “get things done…and now.” As a chronic over-achiever, I find Italy refreshing; no less hard-working and productive. It’s good for me. It helps me see reality and put things in perspective. It helps me see that “now” is not always necessary and that “later, after a coffee” is better, healthier for me. I come back to the States feeling, not like I have been on holiday, but that I have found my way back to my true self.
I love that our trips convey that same relaxed feeling to our groups. We certainly do and see things, all the wonders of Italy you imagine (along with some surprises that only a boutique trip can offer). We travel each day to one gorgeous locale after another. We enjoy good food, naturally healthy, Italian food and good wine. And the coffee; oh, the coffee. But with our style of travel, we help people to get in touch with their ability to relax. We remove all the conventional ways one might stress about being in a foreign country. Once you arrive at our villa for the week; once you have unpacked and refreshed yourself, you have nothing more to worry about (except maybe where you might like to shop…). You needn’t worry about meals or where you will eat or how much it will cost. You needn’t worry about what to see or do. You needn’t worry about where to exchange money. We handle it all for you and help you, so you can open your eyes and hearts to the soul of Italy and fall into her passionate embrace free of any worry.
We plan our trips with enrichment in mind. We want people to leave us filled with memories that will warm them for years. We want our guests to feel like they are part of our family and always welcome at our table.
But now I am home. I have unpacked and reacquainted myself with my little house. I have cleaned the cobwebs from the corners (after 8 weeks…) and refreshed my kitchen. I washed all my little espresso cups, smiling at the memory each one holds. I am looking forward to baking cookies and cakes to ship to you again. As I cook, work, teach and go about my daily life, I will hold that languid pace of Italy close to my heart and count the days until my next adventure there.
I’d love to welcome you on one of our journeys in 2022, so think about it. La Dolce Vita is exactly that…the sweet life. You know you want a piece of that.